Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The accuracy of a variety of in vivo body-composition techniques (densitometry, total body water, skinfold thicknesses, whole-body impedance and resistance, body mass index, and two three-compartment models) was assessed by comparison with fat balance. Three subjects were overfed and three underfed while confined to a 30-m3 whole-body calorimeter continuously for 12 d. Mean weight changes were +2.90 kg during overfeeding and -3.47 kg during underfeeding. The change in fat mass accounted for 37.1% during overfeeding and 59.3% during underfeeding. In comparison with energy and nitrogen balance, a three-compartment model yielded the least bias and greatest precision. The smallest change in fat mass that can be measured by such a method in an individual subject is 1.54 kg (2 SD). Of the prediction techniques considered, skinfold thicknesses or the body-mass-index formula appear to be more precise than estimates based on resistance or impedance.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Clin Nutr

Publication Date





455 - 462


Adolescent, Adult, Body Composition, Body Water, Body Weight, Calorimetry, Energy Intake, Energy Metabolism, Food Deprivation, Humans, Hyperphagia, Male, Oxidation-Reduction, Potassium, Skinfold Thickness